Bond On Blonde at MOMA PS1 Wrap Up

This past Sunday, Justin Vivian Bond, Caden Manson and Big Art Group were invited to curate an afternoon of performance in MOMA PS1’s legendary Performance Dome. We invited some of our favorite performers in New York to present new work and the turn out and performances were amazing. Thank you to everyone that came out to PS1 and a very special thank you to the fantastic and beautiful performers Theo Kogan (Lunachicks, Theo and The Skyscrapers), Viva Ruiz (The Crystal Ark, Escandalo), Jack Ferver, Nath Ann Carrera, CHOKRA (Conscious Hoarding Of Kinetic Rage Associated), Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, DJ Sean B (Spank / Xanadude) and Jemma Nelson (Big Art Group)…. Not to mention  the technical expertise of Ana Mari de Quesada, Jeff  Ralston, Brian Bauman, and our new Italian intern, Simone Serlanga. Also a special thank you for the invitation and hospitality from MOMA PS1’s Jenny Schlenzka, Klaus Biesenbach, Jocelyn Miller. Nick Hung, and the super MOMA intern – Hendrik Bartels

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BROKE HOUSE at Abrons Arts Center NYC April 6-22, 2012

Broke House (New Group Work)
Abrons Arts Center (NYC)
466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street)
New York, NY 10002

April 20, 2012 8:00pm
April 21, 2012 8:00pm
April 22, 2012 7:00pm

Broke House is a new group performance from Caden Manson / Big Art Group and follows a narrative about the residents of a house and their hanger-on, once a documentary filmmaker arrives to capture their lives. On a skeletal set webbed with video cameras, the characters try to recall their given roles as inevitably the foundations of their dreams collapse, and they are thrown into the desert of their own futures. Part comedy, part ritual, part love spell.

The Performance explores the process of construction, when that process becomes sharply interrupted by historical events, and dissolves into the shapelessness of an aftermath. Those processes that were “building” previous to the play’s beginning include a life, a family, architecture, or a system of beliefs, an economy of values, and the creation of the performance itself. But when events intervene— events like collapse, upheaval, disaster, abandonment, forgetting, fear, and strife— all the raw materials and the players themselves become deformed into a new formlessness, and enter a transitional state of potentiality. Like the pause loop in a video game, Broke House takes place in this marginal time zone.

Like all of Big Art Group’s works, Broke House offers our meditation on the current states of America, which we believe have been in flux for at least as long as our ensemble has been up and running. Beyond the topical symptoms of foreclosure crises, credit crises, occupy movements and extremist rhetoric, we suppose that the metaphorical heart of the country has been suffering, and perhaps has decided to rebuild the body that surrounds it.

“True to their name, Big Art Group’s performances are big in every possible way: prismatic visuals hurtle across a panoply of screens, dazzling with flashing colors; strange conjunctions of video imagery captured live by a battery of cameras and spliced together in real time, ambush the eye; digital soundscapes thrum, groan, and roar at synesthesia-inducing volumes.” – Jacob Gallagher-Ross, The Drama Review

Press from the January Showings:

Editor’s Pick in Flavorpill
Interview in Culturebot
Write up in ARTFORUM
Critique by @performaddict
NYTheater Review
Write up in Design Envy
Write up in Performance Club

Images from Jan 2012 Showings and Rehearsals:
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Big Art Group is a New York performance ensemble using language and media to push formal boundaries of performance, digital media and visual arts creating culturally transgressive works using original text and technology. Big Art Group’s diverse ensemble explores, develops and produces innovative new performances. The company has produced eleven original works. and in its eleven year history, the company has become a nationally and internationally prominent and critically recognized ensemble with publications in major journals, PAJ, Theater, TDR, Theater der Zeit, Theater Heute and co-productions with Festival d’Automne, Vienna Festival, Hebbel am Ufer, Le Vie de Festival, Wexner Center For The Arts, MAC Créteil, Théâtre Garonne, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Twitter: @bigartgroup

Created by Caden Manson, Jemma Nelson, Big Art Group
Direction and Scenography by Caden Manson
Sound by Jemma Nelson
Assistant Director Kathleen Amshoff and Bradley Kal Hagen
Performed by David Commander, Nicholas Gorham, Heather Litteer, Willie Mullins, Matthew Nasser, Edward Stresen-Reuter, Rebecca Sumner Burgos
Lighting Design by Hillery Makatura
Production Manager Ana Mari de Quesada
Sculpture Caden Manson and Jeffrey Ralston
Video System Design by Caden Manson and Jared Mezzocchi
Video System Tech Dan Hansell
Interns Simone Serlenga and Dries Vandrope

Broke House is produced by Big Art Group with support from King’s Fountain and NYSCA

Supported by James Davison, Desi Santiago, Ted Henigson, theARTcorps, Ryan Davis, Alan Cumming, joan Raspo, Drew Brody, William Lynn, Julie Tolentino, Hill Family, Ivan Gothner and Betsy Davison, Alyssa Fannick, Robert Litteer, Jen Parker-Starbuck, Sean Pierce and Lucy Pierce and Theo Kogan, paul gardner, John Issendorf, Grant Shaffer, Jill Emerson, Brian Bauman, Amy Sadao, Mambo Movers, Ryan Sorkin, Linsey Bostwick, Mikeah Ernest Jennings, Ilaria Mancia, Hillery Makatura, Justin Vivian Bond, Davis Freeman

Thank You to Barbara and Henry Pilsbury, James Davison, Culture Hub, Abrons Arts Center and Staff, American Realness Staff and Crew. Diane White, Theo Kogan and Sean Pierce, Nathan Carrera, Sean Bumgarner, La MaMa, La Galleria, and

@CadenManson #cofounder @BigArtGroup #curator #editor @pformart #director #VisualArtist #scenographer #teacher #FromTheFuture

#JemmaNelson #cofounder @bigartgroup #writer #painter #SoundDesigner #teacher #cinematographer #published #TheaterJournal @TheaterHeute @Mouvementrevue

#KathleenAmshoff #assistantdirector @bigartgroup #director #upcomingwork #womencenterstage

#DavidComander @MouthCommander #writer #performer #director #showswithdolls #12yrswithbigartgroup #onyoutube #onvimeo #nowebsite #findmeonFaceBook

#AnaMarideQuesada @adqnyc #GeneralManager #FreelanceProductionManager

#NicholasGorham #actor #performer #artist #creatorofthespectrumartspace #canadian #onyoutube #andfacebook #upcomingjan30th

@Dan_Hansell #lightingdesigner #backstagetroll #draftsman #computeraddict #worldtraveler #politicsarguer #loveroffastfood #loverofbadjokes

#HeatherLitteer @redrabbitnyc #Actress #PerformanceArtist #Chanteuse Film #RequiemForaDream #BalladofBettiePage #IntheCut #NewTwenty. #DanceSingle #Apokalips #Curated W.O.(e).R.D. #LegendJackieFactory

@HilleryMakatura #TechnicalDirector @BigArtGroup #TechnicalDirectorActorsStudio #TechnicalDirector @trishabrown #LightingDesigner #MasterElectrician @NS4DRAMA #Organizer #BikeRider #LoveroffineBBQ

@JaredMezzocchi #VideoProgramsDesign @BigArtGroup #MediaDesigner @ThreeLeggedDog #MultiMedia_Director&Designer

#WillieFarradMullins @FarradMusic #actor #singer #dancer #songwriter #popstar #leftbrainrightbrain #makingmoves #peaceandlove

@MattNasser #actor #singer #director #filmmaker #curator @lamamagalleria #performanceartist #companymember @LaMaMaETC #singleandlooking #availableforhire

#JeffreyRalston #VisualArtist #Teacher #CoProducerandDj #InstallationsandLighting #Lighting

#RebeccaSumnerBurgos #PerformedWith @Carmelita Tropicana #Chicas2000 #MemberOf #DazzleDancers #ChillingSocialRealist #CocoFrio #VoicedActed #CocoFusco #IncredibleDisappearingWoman #FilmWork #LatinBoysGoToHell #FoundingMember @BigArtGroup @MastersIn American Studies @NYU #Translation @UniversidaddePuertoRico

#EdwardStresen-Reuter #actor #filmmaker #editor #photographer #formergapmodel @neddershred

In Print: Big Art Included in “New Theater, New Media: Theories and Practices of Theater and The Digital.”

Big Art Group is included in “New Theater, New Media: Theories and Practices of Theater and The Digital” just released by the publisher Franco Angeli in Italian (Milan) by Anna Maria Monteverdi with an introductory essay by Oliviero Ponte di Pino.

“The book illustrates the most interesting experiments related to the use of audio-visual technologies in live performance and video theater from the eighties to the interactive multimedia experiments of recent years. In the third part of the book some interviews with international artists (Antunez Roca Marcel.lí; Konic THTR, Roberto Paci Dalò, Big Art Group, Builders Association; Jaromil).”

Party Pics From Last Night’s Holiday Performance Blow Out!

A big art thank you to everyone that came out last night! We had such a good time performing with our friends. Thank you to Matthew Nasser and Eastern Bloc for hosting us. Thank you to the Big Art performers; Heather Litteer (I will never think of santa clause the same again), FARRAD (turned us out!), Nicholas Gorham ( A very dark christmas carol [Channing] ), and David Commander (action toy Chekhov and the messiest gogo every, I think I still have goo on me). Take a look at the gallery below and check out our online (anti-Kickstarter) fundraiser. Our next group work, Broke House opens in NYC Jan 5th at the American Realness Festival.

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The People – SF Tableaux #2, Terrorism and Democracy Interview Videos

Below is the second Tableaux built by the phenomenal preformance community in San Francisco followed by the final 4 interview videos on Terrorism and Democracy.

4 Channel Tableaux screened during the Iphigenia’s Monologue of The People – SF. Made by local SF performers during the workshop Hybrid Bodies the week before the performance. Participants included Atosa Babaoff, Ben Randle, Beth Grossman, brian gibbs, christine marie, DIA vergados / DIAmanda Kallas, Ernesto Sopprani, Evan Johnson, Honey McMoney, Justin Morrison, Kate Elswit, Kevin O’Connor, Laura Arrington, Malinda Trimble, maryam rostami, Mica Sigourney, Minna Harri, Nina Otis Haft, Rachael Dichter, Sara Kraft

Terrorism Interviews:

Democracy Interviews:

Hybrid Bodies Workshop Tableaux For The People – SF

Photo: Jared Mezzocchi


As part of Big Art Group’s creation residency for The People – SF, Caden Manson lead a week long workshop in the company’s practice called Hybrid Bodies/Simultaneous Presence. The final two days were spent creating 4 tableaux that were incorporated into the live performance of The People – SF inside and on a 200 foot portion of the building facade. Below are the first two without sound. Origianlly played during the messenger monologue (included below)

(Text Excerpt form THE PEOPLE – SF)


I admit, I lost myself on the way homeward. It wasn’t that the open ocean, arms flung wide, had no landmarks to lead us back to our home. We lost a sense of purpose, we lost our resolution.

What we feared most of all— us the amputees, the gravel-faced, the lettuce-skinned and prosthetic-emotioned— what we dreaded with apprehension now stitched up inside of us, this dread…

We feared– We knew something about ourselves that was irrevocable. We had stepped lightly over a threshold, and now, with regret, cast a glance back.

Where is your queen, your empress? She set the trip wires of the fire, the chain that would rush across mountains and tell you we were coming home, this cursed signal. That was apt, that flame after flame would signal our approach, now from Polverigi, from Halle, watch Salzburg burning, set fire if you don’t mind, to the whole valley floor, and let the summer fill with smoke, let them choke on it, through the intervening space and landscape and you think you can control these things but how easily a spark and cinder escapes and starts its own tyranny, and I watched the fires in Cairo, I watched the fires in Kuwait, I watched the fires in LA and Oakland, I saw the buildings ablaze downtown and felt them singe and called the pyroclast my herald to let them know that we are coming home from the great purpose of our lives we are coming home in clouds and smolders and we are bearing down like wildfire on our homeland—

The People – SF Time Lapse and Justice Interviews

As promised, here is the second set of interviews from the American premiere of THE PEOPLE – San Francisco with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts & Z Space with residency support by Headlands Center For The Arts. Over the next two weeks we will upload each of the four sections (Greek Chorus) created for the performance at Z Space on September 16 & 17, 2011.

Also Here is a short 1 minute time lapse of the show by David Szlasa from Z Space. (Thanks David!)

Justice Interviews:

The People – San Francisco (Video Interviews – War Greek Chorus)

We just finished up our creation and American premiere of THE PEOPLE – San Francisco with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts & Z Space with residency support by Headlands Center For The Arts. Over the next two weeks we will upload each of the four sections (Greek Chorus) created for the performance at Z Space on September 16 & 17, 2011. Thank you again to all the local Bay Area people that took time out to take part in the interview process.


Backstage at THE PEOPLE – SF

Here are is a video and some photos taken by Big Art Performer, David Commander, on our final tech before we opened the piece last night.


YBCA and Z Space welcome New York-based performance troupe Big Art Group back to the Bay Area with their new work, The People: San Francisco, a site specific, outdoor extravaganza that combines live theater with large scale, real time video projection. The narrative, constructed from interviews with members of the local community who voice their thoughts about democracy, war, terrorism and justice as it relates to their personal histories, loosely recreates the story of Aeschylus’ Oresteia. Live theatrical reenactments are intercut with earlier, taped interviews, projected via large scale video onto the side of a building where the live play and video are viewed by the audience at street level. Perceived as a kind of “living television,” The People repurposes commonly used media strategies such as video clips, interviews and re-enactments, to explore extraordinary forces reshaping contemporary government. It then sculpts these developments into a performative action that takes as its inspiration the foundational idea of community dialogue and the birth of democracy as theatrically embodied in the Oresteia. By inverting the established relationship between “mass-media” and private exchange, it transforms the “town square” into a public performance in which both performers and audience act out crucial roles in the construction of self-government.

The People: San Francisco is part of a larger cross-cultural work in which the video choruses from each location will be combined to create a window into the cultural understanding and variation of democratic public expression. To date, three productions in the series have been presented: The People—Italy, which took place in Polverigi, Italy with the participation and support of Inteatro Polverigi in 2007, The People—Germany, at Theatre der Welt 2008 in Halle, Germany, and The People—Austria at Szene Salzburg in 2010.

Some out takes from the preparation for tonights THE PEOPLE – SF

Video Stills From The War Speech:

Video Still From The 5 Channel Tableaux Made With The People From The SF Contemporary Performance Scene:

Here Are Some Links To Prepress:
Robert Avila’s preview for The Guardian
Nirmala Nataraj’s preview for the SF Gate

More Info:

Some Of The Interviews Used As Wall Paper For The Sitcom Set: